It took an attack on theatres by activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for the state government to check whether multiplexes are following the government rule on screening Marathi films.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has directed government officials to check this.
“The government has asked Principal Secretary (Home) Medha Gadgil to submit a report on whether the state mandated system was being followed to keep a check on multiplex owners,” said Chief Secretary J.P. Dange.
On Saturday, MNS workers attacked several multiplexes in Mumbai and Thane alleging that Marathi films were getting step-motherly treatment.
The state has issued an ordinance on this and further directives were issued in 2007 designating police commissioners as licensing authorities for multiplexes.
They were to supervise and report whether Marathi films were being screened. Gadgil will check whether this system is being followed.
Revenue Secretary Ramesh Kumar has been asked to report on entertainment duty sops granted to multiplexes.
Dange said most of the 134 multiplexes in the state showcase Marathi movies for the mandated 30 days in a year.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray, meanwhile, met Marathi film producers on Monday and said he would adopt democratic means to ensure that Marathi films are screened in multiplexes during prime time slots.
“We will raise the issue in the coming winter session [of the Legislature] to ensure that it becomes a law instead of remaining a government resolution (GR),” Thackeray said.
During Monday’s meeting, Thackeray urged members of the Marathi film fraternity to innovate in their filmmaking styles to attract audiences. “Your films must be made in such a way that the audience should be forced to come to the theatres,” he said. “If the audience goes to watch Marathi plays, then why not films? This will happen when you make good movies.”
He said the MNS has already conveyed its message to the state by way of Saturday’s agitation.
Dange refused to comment on Thackeray’s meeting with producers but said that the government had issued norms to protect the turf of Marathi filmmakers long time ago.
Sachin Patil, who co-directed the super hit film, Sade Made Teen, said Marathi films are taken off theatres without the filmmakers’ knowledge.
“They discriminate against us,” Patil said.
Filmmaker, Mahesh Manjrekar, however had a different take.
“It is clearly a case of miscommunication between filmmakers and multiplex owners and we have to sit together and work out a solution,” Manjrekar said.